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Graham blames nations { December 11 2002 }

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December 11, 2002

>>> On 11 December 2002, the Senate and House Intelligence Committees released portions of their joint report on intelligence failures regarding the September 11 terrorist attacks. The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, on PBS, reported on the release that day. After asking her guests a bunch of predictable questions, and receiving predictable answers, guest host Gwen Ifill asked Senator Bob Graham, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a good question and got an amazing answer.

GWEN IFILL: Senator Graham, are there elements in this report, which are classified that Americans should know about but can't?
SEN. BOB GRAHAM: Yes, going back to your question about what was the greatest surprise. I agree with what Senator Shelby said the degree to which agencies were not communicating was certainly a surprise but also I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States.

I am stunned that we have not done a better job of pursuing that to determine if other terrorists received similar support and, even more important, if the infrastructure of a foreign government assisting terrorists still exists for the current generation of terrorists who are here planning the next plots.

To me that is an extremely significant issue and most of that information is classified, I think overly-classified. I believe the American people should know the extent of the challenge that we face in terms of foreign government involvement. That would motivate the government to take action.

GWEN IFILL: Are you suggesting that you are convinced that there was a state sponsor behind 9/11?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing -- although that was part of it -- by a sovereign foreign government and that we have been derelict in our duty to track that down, make the further case, or find the evidence that would indicate that that is not true and we can look for other reasons why the terrorists were able to function so effectively in the United States.

GWEN IFILL: Do you think that will ever become public, which countries you're talking about?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: It will become public at some point when it's turned over to the archives, but that's 20 or 30 years from now. And, we need to have this information now because it's relevant to the threat that the people of the United States are facing today.

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