Sarasota Magazine Covers Ongoing 9/11 Battle

November 1, 2016

The November 2016 issue of Sarasota Magazine features a lengthy account of Senator Bob Graham's battle against the FBI, to unearth new evidence of high-level Saudi support for the September 11, 2001, terrorists. The article, by Lucy Morgan, a longtime Florida journalist and personal friend of Senator Graham, goes through the full account of the FBI cover-up of the Sarasota connection between a leading Saudi businessman and royal family advisor, his daughter and son-in-law, and the three Florida-based hijackers, including ringleader Mohammed Atta.

The prominent Saudi businessman, Esam Ghazzawi, owned a home in an exclusive gated community, where his daughter and son-in-law lived for six years—up until weeks before the 9/11 attacks. Security records from the gated community confirmed that Atta and two other hijackers were frequent visitors and had numerous phone conversations with the house occupants. The residents, Abdulazzi Hiijjii and his wife Anoud, lived at 4224 Escondito Circle, where they hosted the hijackers—until they abruptly left and returned to Saudi Arabia, leaving a new car in the driveway, clothes in the washer and food on the table. Hiijjii's computer left with the couple and their two young children.

According to the Morgan account, in Sept. 2011, Graham received a phone call from Irish investigative journalist Anthony Summers and Florida Bulldog editor and publisher Dan Christensen, indicating new evidence about a Sarasota connection to the 9/11 terrorists. When the three met several days later, Summers and Christensen reported that they had received information from an “unnamed counterterrorism official” about the Atta visits to the Sarasota home. Senator Graham knew that the FBI had never disclosed any information about this crucial Sarasota lead when he and Porter Goss co-chaired the Joint Congressional Inquiry. After speaking with neighbors, Graham and the two journalists confirmed that the FBI had been all over the story—but they never provided any of the information to Congress or to the 9/11 Commission.

Graham tried to contact FBI agent Gregory Sheffield, who had written some of the reports on the Sarasota investigation, but he had been transferred to Honolulu and FBI brass blocked any contact. Furthermore, several months after he began his inquiries into the Sarasota story, Sen. Graham and his wife Adele were stopped at Dulles Airport, as they arrived there to spend Thanksgiving with one of their children. They were hauled into a room at the airport terminal, where FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce was waiting for the senator with a pointed message: Drop the inquiries into Sarasota, stop trying to reach Sheffield, and “get a life.”

Graham, Christensen, and Summers, along with some other Florida news organizations, filed an FOIA law suit to get access to the FBI files on the Sarasota probe, and a Federal judge is now reviewing over 80,000 pages of pertinent documents.

Lucy Morgan brought out the San Diego evidence, further detailed in the 28-page chapter from the Joint Inquiry report, finally declassified in July, and she quoted Sen. Graham, who believes that the Saudi royals cut a deal with Bin Laden, to provide material support to the terrorist attack on the U.S. in return for a pledge from Al Qaeda to halt all insurgent activities inside the Kingdom.