MIAMI LAKES, Fla. — The episode could have been a chapter from the thriller written by former Senator Bob Graham of Florida about a shadowy Saudi role in the Sept. 11 attacks.
A top F.B.I. official unexpectedly arranges a meeting at Dulles International Airport outside Washington with Mr. Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after he has pressed for information on a bureau terrorism inquiry. Mr. Graham, a Democrat, is then hustled off to a clandestine location, where he hopes for a breakthrough in his long pursuit of ties between leading Saudis and the Sept. 11 hijackers.
This real-life encounter happened in 2011, Mr. Graham said, and it took a startling twist.
“He basically said, ‘Get a life,’ ” Mr. Graham said of the F.B.I. official, who suggested that the former senator was chasing a dead-end investigation.
Mr. Graham, 78, a two-term governor of Florida and three-term senator who left Capitol Hill in 2005, says he will not relent in his efforts to force the government to make public a secret section of a congressional review he helped write — one that, by many accounts, implicates Saudi citizens in helping the hijackers.
“No. 1, I think the American people deserve to know the truth of what has happened in their name,” said Mr. Graham, who was a co-chairman of the 2002 joint congressional inquiry into the terrorist attacks. “No. 2 is justice for these family members who have suffered such loss and thus far have been frustrated largely by the U.S. government in their efforts to get some compensation.”