Monday, June 20, 2011

Excerpt: Keys to the Kingdom by Senator Bob Graham

Senator Bob Graham, author of the book Keys to the Kingdom, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his book.

July 15
Washington, D.C.
By Senator Bob Graham,
Author of Keys to the Kingdom

At 10:15 Friday morning Tony arrived at the senator's hideaway in the Capitol, one of seventy offices secreted throughout the Senate wing. Ranging from cubbyholes to ornate suites, they were assigned depending on that truest acknowledgment of status in the upper chamber, seniority. As seventeenth in years of Senate service, Billington had a room that overlooked the east lawn, decorated with furniture from the Senate storeroom and landscape art of his state.

"Mr. Ramos, have a seat," the senator greeted Tony.

"Thank you." He sat on the end of the sofa closest to Billington's desk.

The approving smile and tilt of the head indicated the senator was intrigued with Tony's athletic grace and presence. "Mr. Ramos, before we go to the subject of our meeting, may I ask if you had a relative with your name who played infield for the Havana Sugar Kings? As I recall, you look a great deal like him."

Impressed but not flustered, Tony replied, "Yes sir. That was my grandfather in the old Florida International League. I'm surprised you would remember that."

Billington placed his hands behind his head and stretched out in the desk chair. "My father loved baseball. When I was growing up, we had season tickets to the Miami Sun Sox, and he and I drove in from the farm to almost every home game. The Sugar Kings were the dominant team in the league. Dad especially liked your grandfather's grit and hustle."

"I wish I'd been able to see him play."

"You would have been proud. I remember when Dad told the sports editor of the Post about Tony Ramos and several of the other Cuban ballplayers. He said the Washington Senators should pick them up; the only thing they could do would be to improve the weakest team in the American League. But that was a couple of years before Jackie Robinson broke the color line, and the Senators were not about to do that in a southern-culture town like this one."

"That was my grandfather's dream, to play in the major leagues, and I know he would want me to thank your father."

Billington paused to pour two glasses of water. After offering one to Tony he sipped and continued, "That was yesterday and today is now. I'd like to ask a question."

"Yes sir."

"Mark Block is not an easy grader, and he has given you very high marks. I'm satisfied you have several of the aptitudes we will need for the inquiry, so I'm more interested in motivation. Why do you want to break your INR career path to take this on?"

Tony leaned forward. "I think the president has fundamentally mischaracterized 9/11 as the beginning of a war on terrorism. It is not a war unless we make it one. This is not a war. It is an intelligence and paramilitary operation against a relatively small and enormously out-gunned enemy."

"What do you mean by ‘relatively small'?" the senator asked.

"A week after 9/11, my current boss asked the head of the INR how many terrorists were there in the world?"

"And what did he estimate?"

"He said if you define a terrorist as a person who has been through training camps like al-Qaeda's in Afghanistan, or Hezbollah's in Syria or Lebanon, and who belongs to an organization prepared to use those acquired skills, he estimated 100,000. I don't disparage that figure, but it's hardly the Viet Cong, or Saddam Hussein in the Persian Gulf."

"So, that's why you want to join our inquiry staff?"

"Yes sir. To understand the nature, objectives, and capabilities of our enemy. And also to understand why we have exaggerated its threat. Those are some of the questions I think your inquiry can answer."

"Tony, that is a very thoughtful statement of our mission. I want you on the team."

The above is an excerpt from the book Keys to the Kingdom by Senator Bob Graham. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2011 Senator Bob Graham, author of Keys to the Kingdom


About the book:

Keys to the KingdomShortly after an explosive op-ed piece about the 9/11 investigation appears in the New York Times, its author, former Senator and Co-chair of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Commission John Billington, is murdered near his Florida home.

Enter Tony Ramos, ex-Special Forces operative and former aide to Sen. Billington and currently a State Department intelligence analyst. Billington, having sensed the danger he faced, has left Ramos detailed instructions for an investigation into suspected Saudi complicity in 9/11. Ramos, in conjunction with Billington's daughter Laura, uncovers a shocking international conspiracy linking the Saudi Kingdom to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

Despite efforts to derail their investigation, whose scope encompasses Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, Ramos and Laura discover that the Kingdom has recently provided bin Laden and al-Qaeda with three nuclear devices, two of which are successfully detonated by the terrorists overseas. But they were just a warm up to the grand finale. The third device, Ramos learns, will be detonated off the California coast.

Now Ramos and a team of Special Forces must race against time to prevent al-Qaeda from unleashing nuclear disaster on American shores, and beyond.

About the author:

Senator Bob Graham, author of Keys to the Kingdom, is a former two-term Governor of Florida and served eighteen years in the United States Senate. He was appointed by President Obama to co-chair the National Commission on the BP oil spill and served on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

He is recognized for his leadership on issues ranging from healthcare and environmental preservation, and for his ten years of service on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- including eighteen months as chairman of the Committee. In 2004, he authored Intelligence Matters, based upon his experiences during the Joint Inquiry and its analysis of the run-up to the Iraq War.

After retiring from public life, he served for a year as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. While there, he wrote a book about civic participation entitled . Currently,he chairs the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida.

Bob Graham is a frequent guest on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC, and has written op-eds for the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times, and many other newspapers and magazines.

Bob and his wife, Adele, reside in Miami Lakes, Florida.

For more information please visit and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter


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