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tv   Newsmakers  CSPAN  September 2, 2016 7:55am-9:01am EDT

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of the 9 questions people ask about judaism. happiness is a serious problem, why the jews? still the best hope and the 10 commandments. join the conversation with your phone calls and sweets from noon to 3:00 eastern on c-span2 and at 8:00 eastern, kate anderson brower profiles the ten first lady since 1960 in her book first winter, the grace and power of america's modern first ladies, she speaks at politics and prose bookstore in washington dc. mary roach on the science to improve the effectiveness and safety of the us military. elaine on why the public lost faith in political leaders and jean edwards was on the presidential tenure of george w. bush and senator trent lott and john meacham talk about president of politics. go to booktv.org for the complete weekend schedule.
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this weekend c-span's cities tour with comcast cable partners explore the literary life and history of denver, colorado. on booktv we visit the tattered cover bookstore. founded in 1971 it is considered a cornerstone of literary culture. >> if you look at the cover, green carpets, brass fixtures and dark wood. the original barnes & noble stores are modeled on this. >> juan thompson talks about living with his father, hunter s thompson in stories i tell myself. >> he was born in 1936. when he grew up he did not grow up in an area when fathers were heavily involved. that was part of it. writing was the most important thing, family was secondary for
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sure. >> reporter: as part of our c-span cities tour the history of denver, colorado, on american history tv. the national fish and wildlife service ranger in rocky flats nuclear flight transition to a national wildlife refuge. >> we do have elk that use this area, they use drainage and we have meal dear, they might be out here. coyotes or other common mammals. sometimes there is a bear in this area. >> kimberly fields, author of the denver mint, 100 years of gangsters, gold and goats talk about how the men changed the city. >> by the 1880s denver itself got rich from mining and it wanted to become the queen city of the planes, the center of commerce, the leader of the western united states and the city fathers at that point
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decided a mint they could be proud of was going to be part of that process. >> reporter: the c-span cities tour of denver, colorado saturday at noon eastern on c-span2's booktv and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span3 working with our cable affiliate and visiting cities across the country. >> next former senator bob graham, cochair of the joint congressional 9/11 inquiry on the recent declassified material from the 9/11 terrorist attack report. this is just over an hour. >> good morning, welcome to the national press club. my name is thomas burr,
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washington correspondent for salt lake tribune and 109th president of the national press club. our guest is former senator bob graham of florida, chairman of the senate intelligence committee for and after the september 11, 2001, terrorist attack. i would like to welcome our public radio and c-span audiences and remind you you can follow the action on twitter using the hashtag mcc live. we are now less than two weeks away from the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attack on september 11, 2001, which cost the lives of more than 3000 americans and launched america into war in two countries. just last month the united states government released 28 redacted pages of the congressional joint inquiry of the 9/11 attacks which are guest, bob graham, has repeatedly called for the release of those pages and will argue today for more transparency in the worst terrorist attack on united states soil in history. bob graham served 18 years in the senate, is the co-author of
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america the owners manual. you can fight city hall and when and former two term governor of florida. since leaving the senate in 2005 he has been chair of the congressional commission on weapons of mass destruction, proliferation and terrorism, member of the financial crisis commission and cochair of the presidential commission on the deepwater horizon oil spill which i noted last night contributing from the news conference, phi beta kappa graduate of the university of florida and harvard law school centered for public service at the university of florida to enhance civic engagement and prepare the next generation of public leaders. senator graham will offer remarks and turn to questions and identify yourself and your news outlet and submit questions at press.org, questions@press.org. it is yours.
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>> thank you very much, thomas burr, thank you for the opportunity to come back to the national press club. on july 15th, after some 14 years, the chapter of 28 pages from the final report of the congressional joint inquiry into 9/11 was released. ..
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reminding these pages were missing and what the potential significance might be. tony summers and dan christensen, a journalist and blogger with the florida bulldog, broke the story on sarasota which i will discuss in a moment. finally howard rosenberg was producer of the "60 minutes" segment which in many ways was the end of the withholding of the 28 pages. the release of the 28 pages received a variety of interpretations. there were some said this confirmed the saudi link to the 9/11 hijackers. the foreign minister of saudi arabia said the matter is now finished, and the aspersions cast at saudi arabia for the last 14 years will end.
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i believe there is a different interpretation and that is this is removing the cork from the bottle. that there is a significant amount of information which like the 28 pages has been withheld and it was necessary to get this first block of material to the public in order to build the support that will be necessary for the balance of the material to flow. the unanswered questions still remain largely unanswered. did these 19 people, most of whom did not speak english, most of whom had never been in the united states before, most of whom were not well-educated, did they carry out this sophisticated task alone, or did they have some form of support while they were in the united states? if the answer is they had some support, who provided that
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support? a couple of contextual facts about the 28 pages, they were written in the fall of 2002. we know even despite the stringent efforts to withhold than we did in fall of 2002. second, most of the information, the 28 pages, was derived from three of the 19 hijackers, the three who lived in san diego. the other 16 hijackers lived across the country, primarily in places like florida, virginia, new jersey. there were investigations conducted in each of those and other places which have also been classified and withheld. now that the bottle is open, what is likely to pour for the?
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i think there are three flasks the liquid will flow. one is in the 28 pages were written in the fall of 2002 but were no, a number of instances completed. we were under a mandate to submit our final report before the end of that session of congress, which meant by the end of december of 2002, and there were some issues not been taken fully to ground. as an sample, the role of prince bandar, the long ambassador to the united states. it is disclosed in the book of abu zubaydah, one of bin laden's operatives, were telephone numbers otherwise unavailable to bandar's mansion in aspen, and
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to his bodyguard here in washington. there was also information about the fact that both he and his wife had been involved in money transfers which appeared to go to the mentors and protectors of the three hijackers in san diego. was that where that money flow ended or did it end up supporting the hijackers? that's the kind of questions which were raised in the 20 eight pages but i hope we get information now to close those loops. second, there were, have been a number of developments since december of 2002. since the fall of 2011, an author, anthony summers and the
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journalist dan christensen, disclosed the fact that there had been three of the hijackers who had lived for a period of time near sarasota, florida, while they were taking their flight training. these included mohammed atta who was thought to be the leader of the 19. while here those three had significant significant contacts with a prominent saudi family which left the united states after six years of residence in sarasota for saudi arabia, under what were described as urgent conditions, a new car left in front of the house, food in the refrigerator, clothes in the clothes washer. when that story was surfaced, the fbi's response was, in a public statement, that it had done a complete investigation of the situation in sarasota. that it had found no connections
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between the hijackers and the prominent saudi family. and, that all that information had been made available to both the congressional joint inquiry and the citizens 9/11. i was able to quickly determine that the third statement was incorrect. we searched the records of both the 9/11 commission and the congressional joint inquiry, talked to the leadership and steve staff of those and found they had never received any information about the situation in sarasota. i happened to have the opportunity to look at what of the investigative reports written by the fbi agent in charge of the six months investigation and he said that there were many connections between the three hijackers and the saudi family, and subsequently in a released document through the freedom of
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information act, that report is now publicly available with the statement that there were many connections. and second, that the investigation was not complete. that there were other leads that had been suggested by the agent in charge which were not pursued. i believe there are other examples of information like this that will be available when the investigative reports from places like falls church and southeast florida and paterson, new jersey, become available. the third area will be judicial. the families of 9/11 have been litigating to try to establish the relationship between this kingdom of saudi arabia and entities and the 19 hijackers. those efforts have been
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frustrated with the support of the u.s. department of justice and state, which has sided with the saudis on this issue. but, an interpretation of a 1970 sovereign immunity law has been effectively raised by the saudis to not only cause there to be the dismissal of actions against the kingdom but against many of the entities within saudi arabia. there is currently legislation in the congress, it had passed the united states senate unanimously, which would provide an exception to that 1970s law in the circumstances similar to 9/11, where there was a alleged foreign government involvement with a terrorist organization that resulted in harm to americans on u.s. soil. that matter is pending in the house of representatives and i hope that it will act during this session ideally before the
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15th anniversary of 9/11. the, the question is raised, why are you doing this? what, 15 years later what difference does this make? get a life. i was told that by the deputy director of the fbi. the answer i think is three-fold. one, is justice. these almost 3,000 american victims and their families deserve justice. they deserve the right in a court of law to present the evidence they have gathered which is voluminous that will link the kingdom and other entities of saudi arabia to the 19 hijackers. the second is national security. what -- these are the facts. the saudis have heard the message from the united states,
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including the defense that has been provided by two of its major executive agencies, the department of justice, the department of state, to dismiss the suit against them. how have they interpreted those facts? i believe they have interpreted them as immunity. if the united states government won't take action in a case as serious and severe as this, that was, the word is overused but was a transitional event in the history of the united states, what else will it take for saudi arabia to do before the united states government would be involved? and i think that the response that has come from thattance is, we will continue to fund, as we have, the major terrorist organizations and we will continue to fund mosque and
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madrassas, saudi schools, training the next generation of terrorists. two things any terrorist organization depends upon, a consistent flow of money and recruits. saudi arabia is providing both of those, but i think the third reason why this is important is our democracy. there was a recent report from dartmouth college of a study of what is the impact of secrecy, particularly focusing on the 28 pages, to the american people? and the answer is the result is cynicism and suspicion. that the american people are losing confidence that their government is abiding by the essential compact of democracy, that the people will give their respect to the government and the government will give its respect to the people by letting them know what the government is doing in their name. this is not the only factor
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that's leading to a decline in citizen, confidence in their government. i think we are seeing it in full color in this presidential election. there are other factors. and one that relates to the book that mr. christensen and i have just published is that americans have lost the sense of their personal ability to affect government. when benjamin franklin walked out of the constitutional convention, a resident of philadelphia asked the question, mr. franklin, what have we got, a monarchy or a republic? franklin responded, a republic if you can keep it. the fact that he and the founders gave us a republic is no assurance that we will always have it. i believe one of the essential
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elements of retaining a republic is retain the concept that the role of the citizen is central. that it is the citizen for whom the republic was established and for whom it will be accountable. today too many people are dropping out. we had an important election yesterday in florida. the early reports that less than one out of three, maybe even less than one out of four people took the time to even vote, much less people getting actively involved. we are developing a democracy of spectators who think that their role is to sit in the stands and watch the game of democracy, not be a direct participant. i believe our democracy is in trouble. until people begin to feel that they have a personal ability to affect change. this book, "america, the owners
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manuel," lays out dozens of examples where citizens actually gotten involved and made a difference. they didn't just rely on electing the right person to office. they did it themselves. and it provides the skills that are necessary in order to be an effective citizen. so i believe that the linkage between the cynicism of government by its people, and the suggestion that one of the ways to overcome that cynicism is to motivate an provide the skills for the citizens not to be passive but to be active participants in their democracy is one of the most important anecdotes. thank you very much. i again appreciate the opportunity to be, to return to the national press club. we'll be happy to answer questions, except from larry lipman who asks nasty questions which i can certify to for many years.
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yes. >> thank you, senator. [inaudible] is this working? technology. we'll get there. almost there? there we go. thank you, senator. so we're going to turn to q&a now. a couple of rules. please identify yourself and your news outlet answering the questions. i will stop you if you start giving a speech instead of answering a question. bob, just one second. let me start off with this one, sir. you allude quite often in the speech, is united states government protecting saudi arabia and why? >> yes i think it is protecting saudi arabia, the reasons have varied over 15 years over that protection. one of the key reasons early on, was that president bush said at the site of the world trade center, that we will
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follow these heinous people to the ends of the earth to bring justice for those who have lost their lives. we immediately decided the ends of the earth were iraq. it was rather embraer -- embarrassing flowing into the intelligence age that iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 but appeared saudi arabia had a lot to do. how do you square that difficult circle? i think the way, in part was to submerge and suppress the information about the saudi involvement. i think another factor is the long relationship united states had with saudi arabia. going back to franklin roost vet, the agreement with king saud, we would provide them security, they would provide us with oil. that relationship has been a
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difficult marriage to enter into a serious discussion as to whether maybe separation or divorce is going to be required. i think another reason, more recently has been all of the turmoil in the middle east and the idea we've got enough disturbance in places like syria and iraq, that we don't need to add another one in saudi arabia. i believe that, to go back to the marriage example, the way that marriages or any human relationships remain strong is honesty. that you share with each other and you work through the difficult times. i think this is one of those times that our relationship with saudi arabia. we're not going to have a positive, fruitful relationship in which a country there is heavy suspicion that they were a facilitator in this horrific event against our people.
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>> one more question for you, sir. it took 14 years for the united states government to release 28 pages, 28 redacted pages. how confident are you that the united states government will release thousands of more pages of investigatoriry material when it took 14 years to get 28 pages? >> well get a test tomorrow how much news comes out of this press conference, that point out 28 pages were not the end as the foreign minister of saudi arabia has said but just a opening to massive amounts of additional information. to give you one example, going back to that sarasota case, after the fbi had released that statement, that there were no connections, the investigation was complete, they turned over information about this, then there were a series of freedom
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of information act initiated. incidentally i learned one thing throughout this. if you have, any of you been involved in a freedom of information act? well, i think the law should be amended and the amendment should be to require that at the time you file your freedom of information, you also have to file a certified statement from an actuary as to what your life expectancy is. it is incredible, incredible, the tactics of delay and obfuscation, that make the ultimate objective letting the american people know with what their government is doing a reality. let me use the sarasota case. the first response by the fbi to the freedom of information act, oh, we're protecting privacy. we can't release these 28 pages. the judge asked the obvious
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question, the hijackers are all dead. the saudi family is back in riyadh. whose privacy are we protecting? the fbi didn't have a very good answer to that. so he rejected that argument for non-release. then the second defense was, well we don't have any records. we conduct ad six-months investigation. interviewed scores, if not hundreds of people, collected many documents but we didn't write anything down. well, that was so absurd that the judge rejected that. and so sheepishly on the third round, the fbi came into his office with 80,000 pages, that they said this is the sarasota investigation. this one judge with a couple of young clerks down in fort lauderdale now has had this as his roommate, these boxes, for over two years.
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i'm hopeful that soon, to answer your question he is going to begin the process of releasing the documents and building on the drumbeat that will come out of this press conference with that hard information that the case will begin to move forward again. >> well, somebody who has a foia four or five years, i completely understand your point, sir. let me go to questions now again. we have a microphone passing around. wait for the microphone, we're live on c-span. >> tommy, thank you for hosting this forum, senator graham and thanks and congratulations what you're doing insisting the facts on 9/11 come out. as you pointed out and the media pointed out and 28 pages and incredible meetings and reporting, there were meetings and facts not just myths and wondering. in san diego the meetings by the saudi director of religious affairs with three of the hijackers.
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15 of the 19 hijackers were from saudi arabia. money paid from prince bandar's account. those are facts. seems the american policy is to hide and obfuscate. why? i want to follow up on tommy's question, why would saudi arabia and united states government not admit they had a problem and then go forward from the basis of honesty, say now we're fighting terrorism together? is it a matter of democrats and republicans alike just want to pander to saudi arabia? so what i don't understand the reason why we don't take the facts to move from there because these are the facts? >> i thought i had answered that question earlier but i will add that no, this is not a partisan issue. the fact in the house the effort to pass this jasta legislation that will modify the sovereign immunity defense, prior to that a resolution urging the president to release the 28 pages was led by a a republican,
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walt irjones from north carolina, and a democrat, steven lynch from massachusetts. this has had strong bipartisan support. if anything it is more of executive branch versus people of america. executive branch, not only justice, state, and treasury and intelligence agencies largely been the barrier to allowing this information to be known by the american people. let the american people then form a judgment. do they, what do they think we ought to be doing in this relationship with saudi arabia. >> next question. hold on. please identify yourself and news out let. >> jeff steinberg, "executive intelligence review." senator, former navy secretary john lehman, who was a commissioner on the 9/11 commission told "60 minutes" back in april there really never was a complete investigation bit 9/11 commission and you have
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already said that the joint inquiry was limited by time and resources. now, 15 years later, we have the 28 pages as you just indicatedded. there is lots of facts in there. there was a 47-page report written at the beginning of the knife len ven commission by two people on your staff following up on saudi leads. they listed 22 saudi officials had direct contacts with just the san diego hijackers. what do you envision as the next step? can there be a new investigation without the time restrictions and other problems? and do you support that and how would you envision moving forward from here in addition to the lawsuit we do hope will be reinstated against the saudis for discovery? >> well, in addition to the request of the national archives to release, who are custodians of the citizens 9/11 papers, to
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release those sections of its report which have been withheld, which relate to following up on the leads that are in the 28 pages. so could i ask, in those pages, is there a chapter about prince bandar that pursues the leads that were outlined in the 28 pages? that's going to be one. second, will have be more freedom of information act. is there anyone here who is under the age of 40, has a chance to be around with the fbi and the cia. another thing would be the president. i don't, i can understand why george bush acted the way he did. i can not understand why barack obama is acting the way he has. this information is going to be known, whether it is in 2016 or
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2026 or 36 or 46, it will like the pentagon papers and all of these other old scandals, eventually it is going to come out. and i think that the legacy of barack obama is going to be stained by, when the people recognize how much information was under his control that he made the executive decision to continue to restrict from the american people. so, those are, i think the principle levers. they all, eventually come to the american people. the american people care about knowing what their government did in this particularly egregious action. if so, will they put enough political pressure? the political candidates have, they were both leaning towards releasing the 28 pages had they
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continued to be sequestered. maybe now they should be ask ad different set of questions. i'm, i will just, i'm not intending to do your journalism for you, but will, if you are the next president, will you release this other information which, for which the 28 pages are the indicated but not the last word. >> senator, can i follow up on this real fast? you endorsed secretary clinton. have you made it part of your endorsement and the campaign to focus exactly on this issue i will endorse you if you do this, are you pressing her campaign to make that point? >> the answer is i am pressing that point. i would have to say give the choice that we're going to have on november the 8th, hardly anything that would be a strong enough restraint against the other candidate to vote for
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donald trump. so, that wouldn't, i couldn't in all honesty say even if she answered the way i didn't want her to do it, that i would not support and vote for her. >> i understand. thank you, sir. andrew has a question here in the middle. >> andrew craig, justice integrity project. senator, you have mentioned that at few moments ago if the american public puts enough pressure maybe good things will happen on this issue. probably your book addresses how but i wonder if you could say, to the audience listening on c-span and elsewhere, what can an individual do based on your extensive knowledge of politics, to make something happen on an issue like this? what practical steps should or could somebody do?
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>> the most immediate thing is to contact your member of congress and urge he or she to vote for jasta. that, that bill has had a roller-coaster existence over the last four or five years. it seems to be closer to reaching its destination today than at any time during that long period. the key is going to be will the house take it up? my daughter happens to be a member of the u.s. house, gwen graham from the second congressional district of florida, and i asked her about this and she says that they, since the 28 pages were released they have been getting more and more mail and emails and other contacts from constituents in support of jasta. that is where the pressure needs to be until that important task is accomplished. >> another question here in the second row.
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>> hello. jason, independent journalist today. if there was involvement by the saudi government, what is the motive? you know obviously we've seen a huge mobilization by the u.s. government against terrorism and really brought the issue of islamic extremism to the forefront. what is the reason they might have participated in this? >> we're asking that question in the time frame of september 11th, 2001 and the period preceding that. some of this was laid out in a recent article by mr. shane of "the new york times" on the saudi, the history of the saudi kingdom and what its motivations are. i think that the underlying objective of the saudi kingdom is survival. they come out of a desert tradition of antagonism at a
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tribal level and that's still is a permeating concern. i believe that after the 1990s first persian gulf war that the saudis felt very threatened legitimately, because saddam hussein had he moved more quickly could have successfully invaded saudi arabia. and they felt that that their relationship with the united states had been compromised because the united states had actually been previous to the inflation been assiging -- assisting iraq in its military combat with iran. they were looking for other sources of defense. one of the things they did was start buying military supplies, from particularly the british, rather than from the united states.
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and i think the one, this is a speculation, that bin laden, who had been exiled from saudi arabia, had gone to afghanistan. had been a major figure in the rejection of the soviet union from afghanistan, and had put an term together an army of 30,000 war-hardened troops and went to the kingdom and threatened civil insurrection unless it would help him in a plat. i'm not suggesting that he necessarily gave the details but it was clear he wanted to do something big in the united states that was not that was going to be adverse to u.s. interests and needed help. the saudis had people in the united states who had the capacity to render help. people like bayuomi, the man in
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san diego and possibly this family or associates of this family in sarasota. we don't know that yet. and they agreed to make these people available. i think that's -- but again, that's speculation. i think if this information is released, the information that is available, not just on three but on all 19 of the hijackers we'll have a more better, fact based answer to your question. >> pass the mic. mark has a question in the middle of the room. >> thank you, mark meredith, wfla, nbc tampa. question that you felt stonewalled by the director fbi. did you feel your life was at risk or security was of concern, as you pursued this over last several years? >> no, i never felt that but i was disappointed that if it
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appeared the fbi moving from a cover-up, which i considered to be the passive withholding of information to aggressive deception. in the case of sarasota, which is one of several examples, they rewrote the narrative. they said, we finished the investigation and we have found no connections. when in their own files, written by their special agent, who was from the tampa office incidentally, they had contrary information, and they, then, and have continued to withhold that information, other than the eight at this thousand pages -- 80,000 pages from the public. i consider that to justify the categorization of being aggressive deception. >> question on the front row. >> hi. christina long with "the hill." what is the mechanism for release of the investigations on
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the other hijackers. are there foias out? why is the fbi, why would the fbi suppress the, those investigations? and what role can the families, or are the families playing? >> you asked several questions, if i don't answer all of them ask -- i think the, the reason that the fbi is doing it is one, it's not doing it on its own of the pattern of behavior from the fbi, cia, the state department, the justice department, the treasury department, has all been consistent. i think the message has gone out from the white house that they do not want any information from saudi arabia to be released. there was interesting an important book written several
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years ago, by phil, was with the "new york times," shinik. the investigation to 9/11. he pointed out number of times, when information about the saudis role as as aggressively suppress, this is not unique to the fbi venture. >> same way for the mic. >> sorry. and, do you believe that you know, mentioned coming out from the white house, did it start with the bush white house and then it continued to the obama white house? >> then the questions before, have those reports on the other hijackers been foiad? what is the mechanism for release? >> yes. i know, because i'm involved, with it, in florida, that been foiad in the sarasota and southeast florida, where incidentally, 13 of the 19 hijackers spent most of their
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time in the united states in southeast florida. we got enough issues, don't take that into account, as to where you're going to take your next vacation. i superintendent they have all left by now. i'm not sure whether a foia has been filed in falls church, which didn'tly is not far from here. if somebody would like to take that one on or patterson, new jersey, where two of other places numbers of hijackers lived for significant periods of time. >> lastly what role are the families playing in getting increasing public pressure. >> their primary role is to secure passage of the legislation which will allow them to proceed with their litigation. there's very, very able law firms involved in this matter. i'm aware of much of the
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investigative work they have already done. i think that will be, of all the channels of information about the saudi role, what is going to come out in that litigation, if it, is allowed to occur, because the sovereign immunity defense has been modified, will be astounding. >> go to the young lady in the back here. >> hi. french tv. thank you, senator. so i have two questions. the first one is, is there any other channel that you're using? are you in contact with any group like for instance, wikileaks or any other organization that will bring, you know, be able to help that issue be more public in a more scandalous way so people are really forced to read and act on that? the second question is, so you
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are asking for the house to vote on jasta and you are asking them to allow american families to be able to sue foreign government in u.s. court, correct? >> correct. >> so how confident are you that this will not open the door for other governments to sue the united states and to ask for reparations for other things that you know, that they have done? >> well, let me answer two questions. first, you used the word channels. i will state i have not contacted and will not contact wikileaks to assist, to secure release this information. i think the american government needs to do it, not in a subterranean manner. one thing impressed me, how much interest there is internationally in this. to my knowledge because i have participated in some of the
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production, there are programs, itv, the british principle commercial station, is going to air a documentary on this subject during the week of september the 11th. there has been a french and german documentary developed. the german has been produced and the australians are developing a very deep documentary on the whole suppression of information on 9/11. so the support is becoming international because this really is an international incident. saudi arabia has not just engaged itself in u.s. matters going back to that "new york times" article of last week. they have had a very negative impact on making islam a. more rigid and reactionairy religion in places like western
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europe and indonesia and pakistan than it had been in the past. your second question was. >> [inaudible] >> yeah. i know that's a defense, or an argument against jasta, the trade. one of the frustrations here, there is another channel and it has been used on many occasions. there has been some there was coverage of the news event 25 years ago when a pan am jet over lockerbie, scotland. they didn't go to court to get their compensation. they went to their government around the libyan government and negotiate ad settlement of some
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$2.5 billion which was distributed among the families of the victims. both through two administrations there has been unwillingness to negotiate with saudi arabia and say, here's what we know. was your involvement. do you want to enter into diplomacy to determine appropriate compensation of these american families? the answer is, we have refused to do so and the reason i've been given, is because the relationship is too important to even suggest to them that they might have been involved. well i think it is, it's a little presumptuous for the u.s. government to say on the one hand to these families, we won't enter into diplomacy like we did in lockerbie on behalf of the families, the victims but on the same, we will aggressively resist your ability to use our court system as a means of
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getting justice. i find that argument to be very unsatisfying. >> can i follow up real fast concerning secretary clinton? >> yeah. >> do you concerned about anything about secretary clinton and any emails involving saudi arabia that have not been released? >> answer is i don't know. the second question. the first question, i, it is hard for me to believe as for who 10 years had fairly open access to a lot of classified information, that any secretary of state would have either certainly, not knowingly but even by inadvertence assisted in making classified information available and apparently the,
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the documents that flowed through her computer, with only a few exceptions, did not have any indication on them that they were in fact considered to be classified by the sender. i think, to use her words, this was an act of bad judgment by mrs. clinton. she should not have done this but i don't think it's a, a national security threat or that she should be criminally indicted for this. >> i think we had a question in the back. >> thank you. i will stay low for the cameras. manny with rt america. thank you, senator graham. you mentioned your experience dealing with the fbi trying to get more information about the saudi connection. have you been in talk, in contact with anyone, any officials in saudi arabia. if so, what have been the
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outcome of, what has been the outcome of that inquiry? >> i, some of the answer to your question, i can't discuss publicly. i did go to riyadh in 2011 or 12 and had some conversations on this issue at that time, both with saudi and u.s. persons. there was some information i got that was, that i think tended to be reinforcing of my belief that there was a relationship, but i can't go beyond that. >> next question. celia here in the front row had a question. here is the microphone, please. >> hi. celia wexler. who, what, why, where, online a news organization. a couple of questions. one i want to be clear what you're say about saudi involvement.
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are you, to you believe that saudi involvement is at the highest level of their government, or is it saudi officials, or saudi individuals or all three? >> again, that's precisely the kind of information is knowable just it's not noble to anybody -- knowable outside to a very small group of people in the agencies who have control of the information. my own belief it involves layers of saudi society in part because of the nature of the saudi society. the saudi society is a medieval monarchy where the king can literally do no wrong, and other entities within that kingdom are reticent to act, particularly on something that would be as sensitive as being duplicitous to your closest ally without
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some signal of clearance. i think there is an interesting part of the suits to date against saudi arabia. i mentioned that it is not just the kingdom that was listed as a defendant but a long list of other saudi entities, banks, foundations, non-governmental organizations, they have also claimed the same sovereign immunity that the king has claimed, and the courts have accepted that. that tells me that the assumption is that every institution from the palace to the back office of a financial institution, saudi arabia, is considered to be worthy of the protection of sovereign immunity, which says that they must in some way be responsive to the kingdom, which holds that
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sovereign immunity. >> just one follow-up, you were, pretty much harassed by the fbi when you tried to go further in your inquiries. since you went public, have you heard of anybody else who had that kind of treatment from the fbi? >> no. and i, i was, this was a situation which occurred in 2011 as all of this information about sarasota was starting to come out. my wife and i flew up from miami to dulles to have thanksgiving with our daughter who lives in great falls, and we were met at the airport by two fbi agents and they said that we have, that an official of the fbi want to talk with you about the sarasota situation. i was encouraged, feeling that maybe some of the questions that we had been asking were now going to be answered.
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so we drove with the two agents to the office at dulles which the fbi has. my wife was put in one room. she was given as entertainment the fbi training manuel. if you want to know some arcane aspects of fbi training, she's fully prepared. i was taken into another room with the deputy director of the fbi. a young female fbi agent and a middle-aged lawyer from the department of justice. essentially the message was, we done this complete investigation. everything that is known is known and you need to get a life. i pointed out, what he didn't know, that i actually had read two investigative reports by their agent which contradicted
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what they had said publicly and what he had said to me privately. oh, you don't understand. one, that wasn't a very good agent. i mean, the idea that the fbi, has there been an investigation by the fbi in its history that was as important to the american people as full knowledge of 9/11, and the very fact that they would say they sent to head an investigation into what i think was an important component of the total picture, someone that they declared to be less than a fully capable person was itself revel laboratory. and then he proceeded to say, and we have other information that put what is you read in context and you will see that in fact, what we have said is true. so i said, fine. could i see the information that
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will put it into context? and he pointed to the young female agent and directed her to assemble the files. we arrange ad time to meet at the fbi office for the district of columbia. so a few days later i showed up for our meeting, prepared to read these files and the deputy director was there, and he said the meeting is canceled. and we're not going to reschedule it, and, since i knew who the agent was that had been described as less than competent, and i had called him to try to have a telephone conversation, he said, and i know you've been calling agent x, stop calling him because i have told him to not take your calls. that i, was the last of any official character meeting i had with the fbi. >> we have time for about two
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more quick questions. you two are next. the gentleman in the white shirt behind you. then i will go back to you. take the mic please. >> my name is. i work with harat, tv station based here speaking arabic language. my question, the transmission of a question a lot of people in the middle east are asking, especially the people, anti-wahhabiism people, anti-sharia people, they are asking the question, can we say the u.s. is sacrificing the 9/11 cause and its dignity in the superpower in order to keep oil supplies in the energy market and also to keep the seven billion dollars in the american banks and avoid any other economic crisis in the future? this is why the americans are,
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dealing this way with the saudis? >> if those kinds of questions are being asked in the middle east by people who you described as being constructive, non-violent, individuals, that just underscores that this releasing this information, which would provide answers to questions like that, and not just personal speculation, is not only important for the american people, it is important for our global reputation. and, i can't answer those questions, other than to the degree i have speculated on it earlier. and i think it is important for the american reputation, maybe this comes under that category of our national security, people respect us. to be honest with what we know about the relationship of saudi arabia to the 9/11 and begin that serious discussion of
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what, what's our future going to be in terms of the relationship. >> yes, sir? >> my name is bill earl. i'm communicator with the national press club, a member, and i lost my godson in the 9/11 attack in new york. my question is, the 9/11 attack was really the second attack on the world trade center. in 1993 a saudi-connected and funded, terrorist group bombed, in the parking garage of the world trade center. so my question is, shouldn't the look-back really be to the complacency of the u.s. government going back as far as as 1993, and leading up to 9/11? >> as a general proposition i would say yes, and in fact, there were some ties because one of the two people who were identified as being the principle protectors of the three people in san diego was a man named batnan, who had been
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peripherally involved in that first attack back in 1993. there may be some evidence from that, as to the relationship of saudi arabia to the perpetrators of that event, which, might start the trail of information that would lead to their involvement in 9/11. again, that's the kind of information which, an open discussion with materials that have been withheld made available, could possibly answer. >> all right a couple quick announcements before i ask the last question. remind you about a few upcoming programs. on september 8th, senator chris murphy of connecticut will discuss his efforts to secure new gun control legislation.
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also that day national republican committee chairman greg walled en, efforts to keep and build on the gop house majority in the time of donald trump. september 15th, defense secretary ash carter will speak at national press club. sir, my last question to you before we do a book signing by the way which i think we do in a room next door, the senator has a few minutes to sign some of his books, as former chair of the senate intelligence committee, what do you think of donald trump now receiving classified briefings. >> i think it not only is in the tradition of recent years but it is very valuable that a person not show up on the first day of the job as president of the united states ignorant about what the conditions in the world that affect the security of the united states might be. if you might recall, when harry truman suddenly became president on the death of franklin
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roosevelt, he apparently didn't know the atomic bomb was under development. he was a fast learner. we in the complex world we have today, having a person assume that ultimate commander-in-chief responsibility, ignorant of the conditions in, that were then operative i think would be very much adverse to our national security. so i'm pleased he is receiving these briefings and, assume that he will be careful and treat them for the sensitivity that they represent. >> make sense. the book is, americas the owners manuel. you can fight city hall and win. senator will sign them next door. thank you very much, sir. >> good. [applause]
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