Posts Tagged ‘Bob Graham’

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Graham: We didn’t conclude that Pakistani intelligence ordered transfer of $100,000 to Mohammed Atta

April 13, 2015

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fl.) recently granted an interview with 9/11 blogger Jon Gold about the joint congressional inquiry about 9/11 that Graham co-chaired. Readers will recall that 28 pages of the inquiry’s report dealing with Saudi sponsorship of some of the 9/11 hijackers remain classified.

During the interview, Gold asked Graham about the persistent rumor that the former chief of the Pakistani spy agency ISI ordered a third party to wire money to lead hijacker Mohamed Atta. Graham answered that the inquiry did not find that this had occurred, but could neither rule out that it did occur.

Listen to an excerpt from their conversation here (hat tip to 28pages.org), or read it below.

Jon Gold: From what I’ve heard, um, there are more than one country, or there is more than one country listed, within the 28 redacted pages. Can you at least confirm that much, or…?

Bob Graham: No.

Jon Gold: Ok, um, my next question, and I have heard you say that the claims regarding then head of the Pakistani ISI Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed ordering Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh to wire transfer $100,000 to Mohammed Atta are unsubstantiated. Many people—

Bob Graham: We didn’t—I can say that our inquiry did not, uh, reach that conclusion.

Jon Gold: Ok, so you’re saying that your inquiry looked into those allegations or no?

Bob Graham: They were part of our general inquiry. I’m not saying that we conclusively said that it didn’t happen, but we did say we could not, based on the information that we were able to develop, state that Ahmed had been involved in some relationship with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

To our knowledge, the report published by the joint congressional inquiry did not refer to Lt. Gen. Ahmed at all. In the Gold interview, Graham may have been referring to findings during the inquiry that were not included in the final report.

Based on the uncertainty about whether nominal “partners” of the U.S. (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) helped support the 9/11 hijackers, wouldn’t it make sense for a major news organization to renew their investigations into the subject?

Money Jihad’s understanding of the flow of dollars to the 9/11 hijackers based on official, public sources is documented in this post and diagram here.

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Al-Bayoumi’s aid to 9/11 hijackers revisited

September 22, 2014

To recap published evidence on whether money from Saudi officials was given to 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, the 9/11 Commission reported that Omar al-Bayoumi (a Saudi intelligence agent) helped al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar get established upon their arrival in San Diego, to include a one-time transfer of $9,900 that was reportedly refunded immediately. However, Congress’s joint inquiry into 9/11 found that an alternate assessment of bank records by the FBI found no evidence of a refund to al-Bayoumi. Some FBI agents believed that al-Bayoumi continued paying al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar’s rent, but the 9/11 Commission contradicts them. In either case, former U.S. Senator Bob Graham has indicated that al-Bayoumi played a broader role in the facilitation of al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar’s activities in San Diego than official published reports revealed.

Quotations from each source follow:

The 9/11 Commission Report:

We thus do not know when or how Hazmi and Mihdhar first came to San Diego. We do know that on February 4 [2000], they went to the Islamic Center of San Diego to find Omar al Bayoumi and take him up on his offer of help. Bayoumi obliged by not only locating an apartment but also helping them fill out the lease application, co-signing the lease and, when the real estate agent refused to take cash for a deposit, helping them open a bank account (which they did with a $9,900 deposit); he then provided a certified check from his own account for which the al Qaeda operatives reimbursed him on the spot for the deposit.

Congressional Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001:

However, another FBI document appears to reach a different conclusion: ‘a review of Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi’s bank records indicate [sic] there is no bank documentation that supports the reimbursement of [the rent money], or any monies to Omar al-Bayoumi from al-Hazmi or al-Midhar.’

The 9/11 Commission Monograph on Terrorist Financing:

A number of internal FBI documents state without reservation that Bayoumi paid rent on behalf of Mihdhar and Hazmi, a claim reflecting the initial view of some FBI agents. More thorough investigation, however, has determined that Bayoumi did not pay rent or provide any funding to the hijackers.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham:

In San Diego, there was a man [Omar al-Bayoumi] 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 [Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar] 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 official story is that al-Bayoumi could never be prosecuted for providing material support to terrorism since the evidence of giving money to the 9/11 hijackers is unclear, and he allegedly had no knowledge of what they would use the money for. However, the material support clause of 18 US Code § 2339 includes more types of support than just money, and paying somebody’s first month rent and security deposit, in a scenario where a landlord would otherwise not have offered a lease, could qualify as support, regardless of whether or not he was refunded. Whether al-Bayoumi knew what the San Diego-based hijackers were planning is a different question, but he was not thoroughly questioned by law enforcement.

As Money Jihad has noted, al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar seemed to have received disproportionately less financial assistance from Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and his financial intermediary Ali Abdul Aziz Ali than other 9/11 hijackers, even though they lived in the U.S. for a longer period of time and presumably had higher total living expenses. A full accounting of their potential alternate sources of income has never been made available.

In light of the somewhat conflicting accounts of the scope of al-Bayoumi’s interactions with al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar, it would be appropriate to declassify the 28-page section of Congress’s joint inquiry into 9/11 that dealt with this subject to clear the air.

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Campaign renewed to declassify Saudi Arabia’s financing of 9/11

September 2, 2014

The intelligence committees of the U.S. House and Senate released an 800-page report in 2002 entitled, “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.” The inquiry identified failures by the U.S. intelligence community to connect dots of relevant information available to them before 9/11.

The original report was classified top secret; the declassified version includes some redactions of names and methods scattered throughout the report.

The report is divided into four main parts: 1) overall findings and conclusions, 2) a narrative about the 9/11 attacks, 3) special topics about the attacks, and 4) “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters.” It is Part Four that was redacted for the declassified version—that section constitutes the now infamous “28 pages” which has never been revealed to the public (corresponding to pages 416 to 443 in the original, top secret report; pages 396 to 422 in the declassified print version; and pages 428 to 454 in the PDF versions available online).

The first page of Part Four is un-redacted, and states, “Through its investigation, the Joint Inquiry developed information suggesting specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were in the United States.”

In 2003, the New York Times reported that people who read the 28-page section of the top secret version said it indicated that two probable Saudi spies had links with 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. One of the likely spies, Omar al-Bayoumi, may have received money as a “ghost employee” of a Saudi civil aviation contractor from an unnamed Saudi official to disperse to al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi in San Diego in 2000.

Providing further details, KPBS San Diego’s investigative reporter Amita Sharma reported on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 that, “Before al-Bayoumi helped the hijackers, he received $465 per month from the Saudi contractor. After he helped them, he received $3,700 a month. I spoke with [former] Florida senator Bob Graham who co-chaired the congressional inquiry into 9/11, and here’s what he thought about the jump in pay to al-Bayoumi:  ‘The interpretation that we gave to it was that Bayoumi was a conduit of financing for the two hijackers while they were in San Diego.'”

Characterizing the 28 pages publicly, Graham later said, “that was the chapter that largely dealt with the financing of 9/11. Who paid for these very complex and in many instances expensive activities that were the predicate for 9/11?”

The formatting of the published report, which uses strike-throughs in place of the original classified text, indicates that Part Four includes bullet point findings, narrative paragraphs, and block quotes from FBI and CIA reports and testimony before the joint committee.

The final paragraph of Part Four is also un-redacted. There we learn that FBI director Robert Mueller testified before the joint committee that findings about foreign support for the hijackers while in the U.S. “would not have come to light had the [Congress’s] staff not probed” into the subject.

In 2003, 46 senators (including Democrats Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Republican Sam Brownback) supported declassification of the 28 pages in a letter to Pres. Bush. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Pres. Obama told 9/11 victims’ families in 2009 and 2011 that he would declassify the section. Currently, 10 members of Congress (seven Republicans and three Democrats) are co-sponsoring House Resolution 428, which would call upon the President to declassify the redacted pages.

A renewed effort is being supported by former presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul (hat tip @TheNewSpy) to pass HR 428. The website 28pages.org is pushing a social media campaign to declassify the details about Saudi Arabia’s role in the 9/11 attacks. The conservative website Redstate.com and the editorial board of the liberal Miami Herald have also recently endorsed declassification.

Money Jihad predicted in January that declassification could take place this year.

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Financial analyst weighs in on 9/11 money

December 9, 2013

Our readers know that Saudi Arabia funded 9/11.  But more Americans would be aware of this fact if Congress had fully disclosed the results of their investigation into the matter.

Former U.S. Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) was recently interviewed on the subject of Saudi Arabia, with comments (starting around minute 13 of this video) about the redaction from a 2002 congressional report of 28 pages about the financial links between Saudi royals and the 9/11 hijackers.

Financial analyst Bill Bergman gives his take on the subject at Boiling Frogs, including some eyebrow-raising revelations about his own anti-money laundering experience in the early 2000s while working for the Federal Reserve (with thanks to Bernard King for sending this in):

[Bob Graham] continues to express concern that a full chapter of the Joint Congressional Inquiry report into 9/11 – a chapter reportedly discussing financial matters and the role of the Government of Saudi Arabia and related parties – remains completely redacted.

Several months ago, Sen. Graham entered a declaration in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit still unfolding in Florida.  This lawsuit is seeking information about the role of the FBI and its investigation into circumstances surrounding the hasty departure of a Saudi Arabian family from the US in late August 2001.  This wasn’t just any Saudi Arabian family – it included the daughter of Esam Ghazzawi, who owned the house.  Ghazzawi apparently has had ties to the Saudi royal family.  Court records suggest Ghazzawi may have held funds in the notorious Bank of Credit and Commerce International, on behalf of a Saudi Prince who died suddenly in July 2001 — a Prince whose brother was killed in late 2002.  Among other things, the Sarasota family reportedly left “an empty safe” behind when they left the country.

Graham has expressed concern that the FBI withheld critical evidence from the Congress and the 9/11 Commission from this investigation, including evidence that alleged 9/11 hijackers had been visiting their house in the months before 9/11.  One of those alleged hijackers reportedly had been aboard a casino boat in the months before 9/11.  Casino boats carry a lot of currency, among other things.

In late 2003, I was asked to begin working in an assignment in the money laundering area at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  I underwent an FBI background investigation, received clearance to review internal Federal Reserve information, and was told I was “part of the fight against terrorism.”

While working in this role, I noticed a few things that looked pretty suspicious, including a surge in currency circulating outside of banks – billions of dollars in one hundred dollar bills — in July and August 2001.  Anyone concerned that their bank accounts might be at risk of being frozen and seized after 9/11 would have an incentive to get out of dollar-denominated accounts, and may have been withdrawing large amounts of currency.  After asking related questions, I was told I had committed an “egregious breach of protocol” asking the questions.  My job was eliminated a month later.

Well, I still have questions.  Among them – Were any of those bills in that empty safe?  How many of those bills are in those 28 pages?

Granted, a billion dollars is hard to stuff into a suitcase.  But the empty safe is a symbol of a critical element of a ‘dog that didn’t bark’ on 9/11.  We still have no evidence of any investigation into the surge in currency in circulation in mid-2001 – who withdrew it and why, and whether any of those parties were related to, or even responsible for, the events of 9/11.