Sarasota, Florida -- On the eve of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we are now learning of allegations of a major FBI cover-up that connects Sarasota and the 9/11 hijackers to the Saudi Arabian government. As 10 Investigates discovered, there is a growing chorus calling for the reopening of the 9/11 investigation and it is being led by one of Florida's most influential leaders: former Senator Bob Graham.
While still at Sarasota's Emma E. Booker Elementary on the day of the 2001 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush said, "Terrorism against our nation will not stand."
However, the president's visit wasn't the only thing to tie this Bay area county to the September 11th attacks. Within days, we learned three of the hijackers had been living in the area while taking flying lessons at Huffman Aviation and Florida Flight Training in Sarasota County... but there is even more than that.
"There was a network supporting the hijackers," says former U.S. Senator and Florida governor Bob Graham.
According to Graham, the FBI has been covering up that fact for years, and continues to try and hide it even now. Graham says he is convinced there was a direct line between some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.
Graham says the U.S. government doesn't want the American public to find out the Saudis financed the attack, because we provide billions in military aid to Saudi Arabia.
"That would certainly change our attitude toward arming Saudi Arabia," Graham says.
According to Graham, the FBI was aware of the strong connection between hijackers and a Saudi Arabian family who were living in an upscale Sarasota gated community. Twelve days before 9/11, the family abandoned the house -- leaving behind valuable items including food, clothing, furnishings and three vehicles.
"There are some things I can't talk about," Graham told us, "And there are others like what I know is involved in the investigation in Sarasota, which is diametrically opposed to what the FBI said publicly."
As proof, Graham points to 12 pages of newly declassified documents tying the Sarasota family to the 9/11 hijackers.
The FBI claims it turned over all of its 9/11 files to the Congressional Committee. But Graham -- who also headed the Congressional Committee Investigation into 9/11 --says he asked other commission members who confirmed they did not receive any documents from the FBI concerning the Sarasota investigation.
There are actually thousands of documents that are not being released.
"After having said there were 'no' documents about the investigation in Sarasota, 'no' has now become 80,000 pages." Graham adds,"I think that should be stunning to the American people, that an agency of our government would deceive its own people so dramatically."
But what may be the most stunning information is in the newly released declassified documents, showing the FBI was aware of foreign nationals who came to the Sarasota area following 9/11 with intent to do harm to the United States... but Congress was never told about it.
In our next story, we will tell you all about what the new documents reveal and why Graham and other members of Congress are concerned.
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