BOB GRAHAM AT TIGER BAY-Andrew Stelzer

12/16/04

Retiring Florida Senator Bob graham was at the Suncoast tiger bay club in St Pete this afternoon, to promote his new book, Intelligence matters and speak to Floridians for one of the last times as an elected official. WMNFs Andrew Stelzer was there and filed this report.

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Graham, who was on the senate Intelligence committee for 10 years and also was a member of the 9/11 commission, told the almost 200 people gathered to hear him speak that he sees two major reasons that reforming the intelligence system is very difficult to reform into an effective operation.

ACT ‘Americans don’t like intelligence, we don’t like people going through our phones, we have to use these to gather information. We were the last to have permanent civilian intelligence hen our community was established in 1947.

The second reason was that the US spent most of its spying history concentrating on fighting the soviet threat, and the country was not left flexible enough to deal with threats from all over the world “STUFF…were not going to learn much about what Osama is thinking, so the only was to find out is to get another human being

Graham said he believes the war against Iraq has become a distraction from the war against Al-Qaeda, and how that distraction has made The US less secure, because it has allowed terrorists elsewhere to organize, and its inspiring religious fanatics to become terrorists when they see what’s happening in Iraq. Graham specifically criticized free pass being given to Saudi Arabia.

ACT ‘The support didn’t end there, it extended to Saudi Arabia….. The two men were from Saudi Arabia, they had extensive...they trained with Osama bin laden. They attended a summit of terrorists in Malaysia, they were able to get into the US, met by an agent of the Saudi government..he helped them. I don’t say that this man this Saudi agent knew what they were planning, but he knew he had to support them. In our final report, we had 28 pages which discussed the details. When we got the book back, there were some areas that were blacked out—every word of teat 28 page chapter has been blacked out..there has been an effort to withhold info from the American people and that is that the Saudi government ..the FBI hasn’t come to a conclusion, I haven’t gotten an answer, so I think there is at least a 50-50 chance.�

He also said that false information give to the public by President Bush has created a crisis of confidence in the American government and president as a reliable leader.

ACT “Since George Washington, there has been a feeling that the president was the father of the country, that he inspired respect and if he told the American people things were true, the people would believe it…unfortunately the events around Iraq have disrupted whether the united states can be accepted at face value.�

Graham said he is not looking to run for office, he will be traveling to Antarctica, then teach for a year at the Kennedy school of government at Harvard, and then in the summer of 2006, will return to Florida, and establish two policy centers which will work on intelligence and Latin American issues. After the talk, WMNF asked Senator Graham about his plans

ACT “School of the Americas…its ok�

Bob Graham will be speaking and signing books tonight at Florida Southern College, in the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel in Lakeland at 7pm.

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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