Bob Graham, Former U.S. Senator, Former Governor, Pushes New Political Thriller
Around the State
Speaking to a select crowd on foreign policy, he followed his comments by signing copies of the novel at a local bookstore.
"Keys to the Kingdom" is political fiction that drafts off of real-life events, as Graham -- who served 18 years in the U.S. Senate and two terms as governor of Florida -- takes up the proposition that the Saudi Arabian government played a role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. For 10 of those years in Washington, D.C., Graham served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, part of it as chairman.
By its very subject matter, the book is highly critical of Saudi Arabia, commonly referred to as “the Kingdom,” as well as what Graham considers the George W. Bush administration’s failure to properly investigate the alleged involvement of the Saudi government in the attacks.
He stated that the Bush administration “has made the decision that the American people should not understand the full extent of Saudi involvement in 9/11, and with that information take the steps to protect us from future such action by the Saudis.”
The book follows protagonist Tony Ramos, a special forces operative, as he investigates the assassination of retired U.S. Sen. John Billington, a co-chair of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Commission, who was killed after he publicly accused Saudi Arabia of being behind the 9/11 attacks.
In real life, 15 of the 19 hijackers that took over four commercial flights and deliberately flew them into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, with one crashing in Pennsylvania, were from Saudi Arabia. The official 9/11 Commission Report focuses on the hijackers’ involvement in al-Qaida terrorist cells, but Graham claims that it should have followed up on their alleged ties to the Saudi government.
One of the perils of writing a political thriller involving post-9/11 American foreign policy in the Middle East, however, is that the political environment can change very rapidly. Graham’s book mentions the Saudi government connections to Osama bin Laden, the ringleader of al-Qaida who was born in Saudi Arabia and was killed in Pakistan last month by U.S. special forces after a nearly 10-year-long manhunt.
The book also does not make mention of the “Arab Spring” uprisings, which began in Tunisia earlier this year and quickly spread to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain.
Despite the killing of bin Laden, Graham thinks al-Qaida has the potential to bounce back.
“Bin Laden was a special person, very charismatic, an engineer with a very disciplined mind, very rich and with a network of rich friends. But al-Qaida has had a history of being able to replace fallen leaders and I cannot believe that they have not been grooming somebody to take bin Laden’s place,” Graham said.
"Keys of the Kingdom" is published by Vanguard Press, at $25.99.
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