Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who is a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the White House on Tuesday of covering up evidence that might have linked Saudi Arabia to the Sept. 11 hijackers.
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The accusation stems from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's refusal to allow investigators for a Congressional inquiry and the independent Sept. 11 commission to interview an informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, who had been the landlord in San Diego of two Sept. 11 hijackers.
In his book "Intelligence Matters," Mr. Graham, the co-chairman of the Congressional inquiry with Representative Porter J. Goss, Republican of Florida, said an F.B.I. official wrote them in November 2002 and said "the administration would not sanction a staff interview with the source.'' On Tuesday, Mr. Graham called the letter "a smoking gun" and said, "The reason for this cover-up goes right to the White House."
This isn't some fresh-face kid talking. This is a consummate insider: the former head of senate intelligence and co-chair of the congressional 9/11 inquiry.
If the White House refused to allow an interview of a government informant who was landlord to two of the hijackers -- one of the most valuable leads it could possibly pursue -- what other investigations did it spike? And if the White House killed an investigation to, allegedly, protect its Saudi friends, how much more motivated would the White House have been to kill investigations into areas which implicated elements of the U.S. government itself?